American mass loaded vinyl (MLV) consists of a high-grade vinyl mat that has added to it barium salts and silica (sand) to give it the same effectiveness as lead sheeting but without the health hazards associated with raw lead.
Many soundproofing material suppliers now provide mass loaded vinyl to their customers. Some of those suppliers are Acoustical Surfaces, Inc., Sound Proofing America, Sound Isolation Company, Super Soundproofing Company, and Green Glue Company.
MLV is used as a soundproofing material in homes, businesses, hospitals, theaters, music studios and many other places. Because of its versatile characteristics, it can be used nearly anywhere. It does meet building code requirements for flammability ratings and is not toxic to the occupants of the building where it is being used.
Ideally, attaching the mass loaded vinyl directly to the studs in the wall provides the best noise barrier. However, if it’s not possible to add this during installation of the main walls, the alternative is to attach it to the drywall and either paint over it or attach it to the back of paneling and use finishing nails to attach the paneling to the drywall.
This soundproofing material can be applied to the floor as well to insulate from noises below and to insulate the floors below from impact noises such as children running or things being dropped. In construction today, many family homes are being constructed with media rooms in the basement and the living floors above. To insulate the upper floors from the noise of the media room, MLV is used in the flooring or in the ceiling of the basement.
Acoustic quality of a theater is an absolute must. Adding soundproof material to the walls, floors, and ceiling of a media space has become a very common practice. Prior to the introduction of MLV, raw lead sheets were used to provide a sound barrier to outside noises coming in. With the introduction of mass loaded vinyl sheets, lead is no longer used. The ease of installation of this material, the cost and the non-toxic formula are all benefits that come with the use of mass loaded vinyl sheets instead of raw lead.